Flygskam attitude

Flygskam or Flight Shame: a new trend recently launched by followers of the young Greta Thunberg. This environmental movement aims to commit 100,000 Swedish people to going air-free in 2020. On paper, “we stay on the ground” is an appealing concept that is quickly spreading across Europe and the USA. However, in reality, for a business traveler, it is simply unthinkable. How can one say no to flying when responsible for the EMEA zone or as an International Project Manager? There are, however, a multitude of other elements that can be considered so as to actively reduce one’s carbon footprint.

Plane, train, car: do you really know which is the most polluting of the three?

Do you have any idea how much carbon your business trips emit? For example, for a journey of 560 km or so, such as San Fransisco / Los Angeles, the GoodPlanet Foundation carbon calculator estimates a CO2 emission, per passenger, of:
– 0.24 T by plane
– 0.15 T by car
– 0.01 T by train
True or false?
True, as the train is, by far, the most environmentally friendly means of transport.
False, as for the plane and the car, the calculation is particularly complex!
Each online calculator has its own method and takes into account different data, such as, the number of passengers, the distance, the traffic, the type of fuel, the vehicle’s horsepower. However, aircrafts’ latest technological innovations are not always integrated. Neither are air traffic control systems nor flying techniques, although all these criteria can help towards significantly reducing CO2 emissions. Thus, for an equal distance, a plane could sometimes be less polluting than a car.

Are slow-travel and business trips compatible?

Nomadic workers’ imperatives complicate the concept of slow-travel. However, fortunately, the carbon impact of business travel does not only concern long journeys. It’s possible to make your trips more environmentally ecological, even when you have no choice but to fly. The opportunities are endless:
– choose eco-labeled travel providers: hotels, restaurants, booking companies, airlines
– favor public transport as an alternative to taxis
– try to share as many of your journeys as possible with fellow employees
– suggest swapping certain business trips for videoconferences
– be as eco-responsible when traveling as you are at home: turn off the lights, switch off the air conditioning, reuse your towel, use biodegradable products, take the stairs, sort through your things

Onboard the Flygskam…

Before the Flygskam wins you over, learn more about CO2 offset programs. If, despite your best efforts, you have difficulty digesting the tons of CO2 emitted by your business trips*, you can always choose to neutralize your carbon footprint. Collectively or individually, compensate for the negative impact of your flights by supporting a positive eco climate project. Click here to see the details and recommendations outlined by Climate Fwd: (New York Times climate newsletter) so as to help you make the right association.

* For information purposes, a Paris-New York flight emits, on average, 1.44 T of CO2 / passenger

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